Today was a day full of surprises. For Gilgal it was a surprise to learn that we’re not too shabby with a roller and some paint, or even mixing cement “because we know you have machines to do these things in your country”. For us we were again surprised and overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of our hosts.
Michael’s photos, and some of our own, will tell their own story of our morning working alongside our new friends in Gilgal church and some hired professionals (one of whom was called Armagh - at least that’s what it sounded like to us!). They have recently extended their building and so the old nursery school classrooms are now the church offices, the old kitchen is now the prayer room, and new classrooms for Sunday School and Kindergarten have been built outside. Reuben, Rachel, Graham and Karen stayed inside to help paint the walls of the church while outside Brian and John mixed cement that was being used to plaster the walls of the classrooms.
We like the African way of working - do a little bit and then pass your task on to a friend while you relax before taking up the reins again. So John and Brian had time to talk more about harvesting rainwater and begin to find out costings for tanks. Michael, Reuben and Karen kicked a homemade football about with some of the children who had gathered in front of the church. We think we found a Messi in the making.
We weren’t the only ones keeping busy. On Sunday morning we presented a card from Kidzone and a card from the Anchor Boys to the children during the morning service. One 11 year old boy, King, who speaks very good English asked if he could make cards for the children back in Belfast. We can’t wait to show you what he has done and the messages he has written.
Confirmation from God comes in many different guises, and we have had many different confirmations about our partnership over the past few days. Perhaps one of the most telling is their hospitality and insistence to stop and take tea or coffee together. We enjoyed lunch in the Pastor’s garden, sharing it with all those who had helped with the work in the morning. The ladies of Gilgal Evangelical Church have worked hard during our time ensuring that we haven’t wanted for tea and coffee.
Today we also said our goodbyes. We will see Dr Bunini and his son Jules again tomorrow over lunch before we head home, but for the other church members who we have grown to know and love this afternoon was our final farewell. We need an extra suitcase for the gifts that we have been showered with - gifts for Bloomfield, for Rev Dr Bill, for the men and for PW (which I wasn’t allowed to open!) It was definitely emotional but we trust that we, and we hope other members of Bloomfield will meet them again in the not too distant future.
As Graham brought the final greetings of our team to Gilgal he used these words from Ephesians 3 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen”.